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HindustanTimes Fri,28 Nov 2014

Kashmir separatists raise ante against West Pakistan refugees' settlement, Pandits return

Peerzada Ashiq, Hindustan Times  Srinagar, June 24, 2014
First Published: 10:53 IST(24/6/2014) | Last Updated: 12:49 IST(24/6/2014)

Separatists here have raised their ante against the reported move of the Centre to grant citizenship to the 1947 West Pakistan refugees and settle migrant Kashmiri Pandits in huge enclaves in south, north and central Kashmir.

Separatist JKLF on Monday had called for a March towards the city centre Lal Chowk and issued a shutdown call against granting citizenship to West Pakistan refugees living in Jammu.

"The enemies of J-K are again out to destroy and snatch our Muslim identity. The RSS and the BJP are planning to declare lakhs of outsider refugees as citizens here to change the demography of the state. People of Kashmir will not remain silent spectators to these nefarious designs," said Malik, who was detained along with his associates at Maisuma on Monday morning when tried to march toward Lal Chowk.

Malik has called for a "Quit Kashmir" movement in response to the BJP's decision to observe the death anniversary of Jan Sangh founder Shyama Prasad Mookerjee as Kashmir's integration with India on June 23.

Life was crippled in Kashmir valley in the wake of shutdown call issued by Malik. There was thin traffic on roads, most schools, government offices, banks and petrol pumps were closed for the day.

The authorities had to impose curfew-like restrictions in three sensitive police stations to foil Malik's rally. Spools of concertina wires were step up by the security forces on all intersections leading to Lal Chowk. Dozens of JKLF leaders were arrested in raids in the last four days.

On the other hand, hardline Hurriyat chairman Syed Ali Geelani has called for a consensus over the return of Kashmiri Pandits as he sees "dangerous plans" in the BJP's move to rehabilitate Pandits who left the valley after militancy broke out in 1989.

"None of Kashmiri Muslim is opposing the return of Pandits but by creating separate cities for them the government is actually working on its dangerous plan to harm our centuries old brotherhood, to divide our society and to give our freedom struggle a communal colour," alleged Geelani.

Rejecting plans of the government to settle the Pakistani refugees in Jammu and Kashmir, Geelani said, "The Narendra Modi government is coming up with a dangerous policy of changing the demography to convert Muslims into minorities.

The BJP government at the centre is reviewing rehabilitation plan of Pandits to ensure their safe return to Kashmir and is likely to announce a major package. The UPA government's efforts to initiative return of Pandits failed to yield desired results. The BJP is likely to increase the amount paid to Pandits to restart their lives in Kashmir valley.

However, Geelani alleged that chief minister Omer Abdullah was recently called to New Delhi and "was told there to identify the 16,800 Kanals of land in Kashmir for establishing three separate cities for Kashmiri Pandits."

"These cities are to be established in the north, south and central Kashmir and each of them require 5,600 Kanals of land where 75,000 to 1,00,000 people will be accommodated. It's a grave issue for the every individual of the state. We will try to create a national consensus against these policies of the Indian government and in this respect we will start consultation with (separatist) groups and religious organization in near future," he said.

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